Helping our Children be Mindful
Last month we read of the benefits of practicing mindfulness and striving to be present in our daily routines. We learned some techniques to use which could help us lead lives filled with compassion, connection and calmness. This month we are concentrating on the impact of mindful practice with children. Mindful curriculum and practice in schools is increasing across our country and studies show that, with mindful instruction, students are demonstrating more compassion for themselves and others, learning how to pause rather than react to situations, and are more focused, and less stressed, in the school setting. Additionally, an increase in both emotional resiliency and optimism as well as problem solving skills and creativity has been acknowledged as children learn to take steps in becoming more in tune with their feelings and aware of their sense of being.
MindUp, a science based mindfulness curriculum funded by the Hawn Foundation, trains educators to teach to school age students. Its research finds that mindful practice among students increases cognitive and academic ability and that 90 percent of children experienced improved peer relationships and maintained a stronger self-concept, enhanced self-regulation and management skills. Additionally improved organizational skills were seen and the children were involved in fewer incidents of bullying and absenteeism.
As we raise our children to be ready for the fast pace of our world and hope to see them become compassionate and deliberate in purpose, what are some things to keep in mind as we try to help them develop more mindful strategies? Consider some of the following suggestions:
Our hope is to offer our children tools which they can utilize throughout their lives. It’s important to keep these exercises simple and fun so that they can relate to and remember them as they face situations of potential stress or anxiety. These activities also allow us to share meaningful time with our family in a way which is healthy, productive and encourages mindful and present practice.